The San Francisco Brewers Guild has set the dates for the 11th edition of SF Beer Week: February 1st through 10th.
In my post on Nuevo Mundo’s new draft bar I mentioned that the Dörcher Bier tap room on Miraflores’ Calle Manuel Bonilla had closed. Well, it turns out that Dörcher Bier, a brewery from Pozuzo –a valley in the region of Junin, settled by German immigrants– has teamed up with Lima Beer Company, makers of Craftsman Cerveza Artesanal, to open up a joint tap room: La Cervecería.
In a converted early-20th century house, La Cervecería’s layout had to squeeze into the spaces of the home it once was -parlor, living room, etc.– which creates cozy nooks and crannies for sitting in with friends.
The decor follows a pattern that has become almost standard in taprooms here in Lima: rough brick facing behind the bar, a large chalkboard above the bank of taps, and a mural on one or more nearby walls.
The staff are friendly and the beer selection quite good, with 21 taps of house and guest brews; all of which are Peruvian.
Particularly noteworthy for foreign visitors is Dörcher’s Coca, a beer infused with coca leaves, which give the brew a slight green tinge and a light coca leaf aroma and flavor.
Calle San Martín 431
A few days ago my wife, my cousins, and I headed over to Cervecería +51 in Lima’s Jesús María district.
Cervecería +51 is a small brewpub on a side street not far from Jesús María’s plaza and central market. It occupies the space vacated by Jaya Brew and there are still a few relics from Jaya in the form of posters, wifi network ID, etc.
The space is nicely appointed with tables made from recycled doors, and there are several sets of Jenga™-style blocks for patrons to play with. The staff is great. Super friendly, helpful, and dedicated to making sure that one has a good experience as a patron.
Currently, +51 (whose name, incidentally –like part of the name of this blog– is derived from the Peru country code) has a line-up of a dozen beers, including a trio of Irish-style beers (lager, red ale, coffee stout). Not all of them were on tap when we visited, but the missing brews were made up for by guest taps from other Lima craft brewers.
We stuck with the house brews, trying their Imperial Stout (6% abv, 33 IBU), American Pale Ale (5.5%, 33 IBU), ZIA – India Red Ale (6.5%, 44 IBU), IPA (7%, 58 IBU), and the Belgian Pale Ale (5.9%, 26 IBU).
+51 is brand new, having opened its doors only in mid-June, and it is evident that, like many new breweries, they’ve not yet gotten their brewhouse efficiency zeroed in. The result is that some of the beers, while overall good in flavour, do lack a bit in body and mouthfeel. (And, of course, there’s the issue of taking a 6% abv, 33 IBU beer and calling it an imperial stout.)
The Belgian Pale and the IPA were the best of the bunch. Both of those brews show that +51 has what it takes to produce good beers. There was sufficient “Belgiany” flavour in the first, and a decent hoppiness and good body, with a nice long-lasting head of foam, in the latter. In fact, having tasted the IPA, we ordered a full pitcher of it. And then, a second one!
Time constraints will likely keep me from revisiting +51 during the remaining days of the this trip, but I look forward to getting back there when I next return to Lima.
This past weekend I traveled from Lima to the city of Ayacucho (aka Huamanga), where my family is originally from, on my dad’s side. There, I had a great time meeting Richy Ledesma, a craft brewer whom I’d been in contact with on FaceBook and who is also friends with a couple of my cousins.
Richy received me at his place, Cervecería Artesanal El Oráculo, and plied me with beers as we spent the evening talking about craft beer and other subjects.
Entirely self-taught, Richy is one of only two craft brewers in Ayacucho, a city 363 road miles from Lima and 9,000 feet up in the Andes. He produces four or five batches a week on a 100-liter system, which he mainly distributes in bottles, which he fills by hand and carbonates with priming sugar.
In the evenings he opens his little taproom, which is located in a fourth floor walk-up space in downtown, and dispenses beer from his two-tap draft system.
The relative isolation means that everything that goes into a beer but the water, has to be imported. Once to Peru, and thence from Lima to Huamanga. It also means that Richy is fighting against a lack of popular knowledge about beer styles and about hand-crafted beer.
Further, it also means that Richy does not have easy access to examples of the styles he wishes to brew nor to a support community of fellow brewers. One result of that is that some of El Oráculo’s beers are not quite consistent with what we, in the US, would consider the standard for those beers –for example, Punana Porter falls a bit shy when it comes to body and mouthfeel.
Richy, however, is undaunted and by dint of hard work in what is essentially a one-man operation, he is opening doors for his brews in town and elsewhere. His beers are even poured at events and festivals as far away as Lima.
El Oráculo’s tastiest beers are, by far, Judas and La Vidente.
Judas is a 7.5% abv, 30 IBU, 13 SRM, smooth pale ale with a lovely white head. I didn’t take any notes, so I’m going from memory here, but I believe Richy said that he used Columbus and Kent Goldings hops in this one.
La Vidente is El Oráculo’s biggest beer, coming in at 13% abv. One wouldn’t know it, though, when drinking it. It has a bit of warmth, but is not “hot” with alcohol. Rather, tropical fruit notes predominate in the mouth and nose.
If you like craft beer and supporting small independent enterprises, El Oráculo is well worth checking out should you find yourself in Ayacucho.
Cervecería Artesanal El Oráculo
Calle Nazareno, 2do Pasaje #133
Having arrived in Lima the night before, last Monday afternoon I went in search of craft brew. Heading to Miraflores district, I found BarBarian closed for the afternoon while some work was being done on the place, and that Dörcher Bier’s place was gone and being replaced with a Peruvian-Asian fusion eatery. I was not to be frustrated, however, for right next door was a new taproom for Cerveceria Nuevo Mundo!
When I say new, I mean it was literally quite new, having just opened its doors in mid-June. It turns out that the old Nuevo Mundo taproom around the corner and a block or two down Avenida Larco, closed and is now Lupulo Draft Bar. The staff at the new Nuevo Mundo Draft Bar said that they have the Nuevo Mundo concession. I’m not sure what that means, but if it works, who am I to argue?
The place is about the same size as the old one, but because of the layout it feels a bit smaller. It is easier to get around in, however, as not having a staircase taking up some of the space allows one more room to maneuver in.
Between Nuevo Mundo’s own offerings and a few guest tap, the beers, naturally, are as good as they’ve ever been.
Nuevo Mundo Draft Bar
103 Calle Manuel Bonilla